Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I'm one of those totally devoted Mac users who can't understand why anyone would buy a PC. And what I always say about using a Mac is that it comes down to style: not just the style of the physical object, but also the style of the computer interaction. Both are always lovely on a Mac: elegant, simple, fun, and pleasing.

To my mind, this transforms the whole using-a-computer experience, from "slightly annoying" to "pretty great." And if you use your computer a lot, don't you want the experience to be pretty great all the time? Think of the net increase in your pleasure over a year.

Of course, the big argument on the other side is supposed to be something like this: Macs are more expensive for "the same features." All that extra money is just for style, and who cares about that? It's substance that's important, right?

It's a surprisingly common line of thought, at least around the academics and thinker types I hang around with. There's something vaguely not right, they say, with caring about style over substance. It's almost a little morally suspicious. It's just style! they say. It's not real!

But you know, it's funny, because I am visiting Paris right now for three weeks and pretty much everyone I have told has reacted in the same way, "Oh, Paris! You're so lucky! What a wonderful place!"

And it is a wonderful place. But seriously, most of what's wonderful about it is it's got style. Not flash, exactly, because Parisian style isn't really flashy. But things are just cool here: buildings are pretty; streets are laid out in a pleasing way; the various machines you deal with to get your subway tickets or whatever are fun to use; the people look good and are wearing nice clothes. The food and wine are good.

It makes life fun. It makes a twenty minute walk to the store and back a pleasure rather than a chore; it makes a ride on the subway a mini-treat rather than a pain-in-the-ass; it makes an espresso after lunch a delight rather than an exercise in avoiding the caramel mocha latte or whatever.

And think of the money you save, not having a car, not driving, and not going to Starbucks. Sure, Macs are expensive, but they last forever, and more amazingly, they stay fun to use.

Style. Good for you, good for your pocketbook, good for the environment.


The Secretary said...

Just checking -- you are saving money in Paris? 8 ]

I guess it is less expensive than Tokyo and Zurich.

The Secretary said...

Forgot to post this list:

The Secretary said...

Actually, try this list.

Noko Marie said...

Fair enough. You're right, it's not that particular things are cheaper in Paris. But it's more that the tiny pleasures of life in Paris make it possible to be satisfied with less stuff. Or less elaborate stuff. Or less "personal individual" stuff.

It's hard to compare life traveling with life at home, but I can say that this past week I've cooked plenty of meals at home (the five block walk to the store being pretty delightful), and that I much prefer the 950-Euro-per-month teensy studio I am staying in to the somewhat larger 1400-US-dollar-per-month one-bedroom I stayed in in Ann Arbor earlier this year.